Ultimate BBQ Beers: Top Picks for Enhancing Your Grilling Experience

Forget about food and beer pairings – when it comes to the best combination for grilling, nothing beats the relationship between BBQ and craft beer. Whether you prefer a classic lager or an IPL, pairing the right beer with your barbecued meal can bring out aspects of flavor that might otherwise go undetected.

This blog post explores some of the best beers to pair with delicious barbecue dishes in order to unlock their full flavors.

Best Beers To Pair With BBQ

Beer and BBQ are a match made in heaven, and knowing the right beer to pair with your BBQ meal can truly unlock its flavor. Here are some of the best beer pairings for different types of BBQ:

Beer BBQ for Sauces

Guinness Draught Stout

The iconic Irish stout is celebrated for its malty sweetness, hoppy bitterness and coffee-chocolate notes. Smooth, creamy and in balance, it makes an ideal pairing with a range of BBQ sauces – from the Piggin’ Hot variety recommended by Woody’s BBQ Guide to Chef Kwame Onwuachi’s Guinness Extra Stout infused base sauce at his festival.

Stouts like Guinness shine when cooked down into rich BBQ dishes such as slow-cooked ribs or pulled pork. It also pairs nicely with chicken wings or lamb shanks smothered in a classic tomato-based BBQ sauce – giving those deeply caramelized flavors another dimension with it’s subtle caramels, toasted malts and notes of fig.

Founders Porter

Founders Porter is a flavorful dark beer that works well as a pairing for many BBQ dishes. This classic porter has a sweet chocolate and caramel malt presence, with high roasted notes and strong hop aroma.

It also features an alcoholic content of 7.2%, which gives it robust flavor and highlights the nuances from each sip. With just the right amount of bitterness, Founders Porter can add complexity to lighter meats like pork or chicken that are easily overpowered by stronger flavors such as those found in beef dishes.

The malty notes in this brew will accentuate sweeter barbecued foods, draw out their smoky aromas, and balance any acidity present on the palate.

For those wanting to explore beer taste further while quite literally unlocking more flavorful options at their BBQs should without doubt sink their teeth into Founders Porter – the bold roasted sweetness makes this fruity beer shine! From burgers piled high with condiments to fluffy steaks resting atop greens salads, there’s no denying that adding some tossed up flavors in between bites flatters most barbecue meals nicely too; all thanks to certain beers sweetening up dessert items along your journey through every sunset grilling session you bid farewell too!

Newcastle Brown Ale

The Newcastle Brown Ale is a popular beer option in the UK that has a smooth, toasty, nutty and caramelized malt flavor. It pairs perfectly with the smoky flavors of barbecued dishes. This ale can bring out subtle caramelized notes in sweet barbecue sauces as well provide balance against more intense citrus or tropical tones from certain craft IPAs.

A glass of Newcastle Brown Ale will complement any BBQ meal; it pairs especially nicely when barbecued pork, chicken or beef is on the menu. The half-pint schooner serving style lets you top off your pint regularly for optimal pleasure throughout your meal.

BBQ Pork And Beer:

Pairing beer with pork BBQ dishes is a classic and surefire way to bring out the flavors of both. The following are some of the best bbq beers to pair with Pork.

New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale

New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale is an American classic craft beer boasting a distinct ceramic-red color and sweet, toasty maltiness. This deliciously smooth but light brew goes down easy with its crisp finish and medium body, making it the perfect accompaniment to any BBQ meal.

The combination of New Belgium’s signature ingredients including pale malt, dark Munich Malt, crystal malts (for color), noble German hops for flavor balance, and signature Belgian yeast create a unique flavor profile ideal for pairing with BBQ fare.

The special fermentation process includes 37 days before packaging in order to bring out fuller flavors while still maintaining low alcohol content.

To up your BBQ experience even more try using New Belgium Fat Tire beer as part of a marinade or adding it into homemade sauces for added depth of flavor – the notes from the amber ale blend nicely with smoky spices and familiar bbq elements like ketchup or brown sugar.

Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier

Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier is a wheat beer from Bavaria, Germany and a summertime staple for many beer enthusiasts. The beer is brewed by the world’s oldest brewery, Weihenstephan Brewery, that dates back to 1040AD and has perfected their craft over centuries of practice.

This premium German wheat beer has plenty of bright citrus aromas with hints of cloves and banana that make it perfect for pairing with barbeque dishes like vegetables or seafood.

Brewed using pale malts as well as herbal hops, this quality lager provides greater depth compared to other more common beers on the market today – giving Weihenstephaner its one-of-a-kind flavor profile.

Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

This beer is renowned for its powerful yet balanced hop character. This East Coast IPA was the first of its kind, with a unique continual hopping process of up to 60 minutes.

The exciting hops profile offers lots of fruity and Citra notes that pair nicely with many types of BBQ pork dishes.

The Hop Scholar Ale House in Spring, Texas provides the perfect place to enjoy an icy pint of award-winning 60 Minute IPA among other craft beers along with your favorite BBQ dish or burger; the transitional attack gives way to caramels and chocolate maltiness which makes it an ideal match for savory meats cooked over hot coals on a smoky grill.

BBQ Lamb And Beer:

Lamb dishes benefit from a pair of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, which offers notes of pine and citrus that balance the flavorful intensity of lamb.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is an American classic, the perfect beer for pairing with BBQ lamb. This medium-bodied ale features rich flavors of ripe cherry, plum and spice on the finish.

It has a unique yeast strain that produces harmonious notes of clove, banana and vanilla. The combination of these flavors make it ideal to elevate the smoky and savoriness of barbecue lamb dishes.

What sets Sierra Nevada Pale Ale apart from other beers is its well balanced malt sweetens which accents the umami profile present in all barbecued meats. It also creates an enjoyable contrast between its crispness and richness over slow cooked meat making it great for those who don’t prefer overly bitter or hoppy brews.

BBQ Seafood And Beer:

Pairing the briny variations of seafood, such as lobster and shellfish with beer is a great way to even out the flavors while making each stand out – continue reading to learn how to find the perfect pairing.

Pilsner Urquell

Pilsner Urquell is an American Pilsner that has a medium-to-high level of carbonation, a malt taste, and a dry finish. These characteristics makes it the perfect beer to pair with BBQ seafood dishes such as spicy linguini tossed in extra virgin olive oil with anchovies, capers, chilies, and tomatoes.

The sharp hop snap adds just the right amount of bitterness while adding complexity to the flavor profile. With its light body and full flavor nature, this beer isn’t overpowered by these lighter flavors but instead complements them perfectly.

BBQ Chicken And Beer:

From Hoegaarden Original Belgian Wheat Beer to Kona Brewing Co’s Big Wave Golden Ale, there are many craft beers perfect for pairing with BBQ chicken.

Hoegaarden Original Belgian Wheat Beer

As an American craft beer fan, I was instantly intrigued as soon as I heard about Hoegaarden Original Belgian Wheat Beer. This 5.7% ABV full-bodied, rich Belgian-style wheat beer is known for its iconic golden color and sweet aroma – often compared to the classic witbier style that originated in the nearby town of Hoegaarden centuries ago.

Ever since then, this brew has been a mainstay amongst BBQ fans everywhere who appreciate its zesty notes of orange peel and coriander that meld wonderfully with charred meats and smoky sauces on the grill.

What really sets it apart from other beers is how perfectly it pairs with chicken dishes – especially those splashed generously with barbecue sauce.

Kona Brewing Co. Big Wave Golden Ale

is a smooth and easy-drinking golden ale. It packs a fruity, sweet flavor with a subtle hop aroma that make for an incredibly refreshing brew, perfect for summer BBQs or grill outs.

The Big Wave has an alcohol content of 4.4% and contains just 132 calories and 10 grams of carbohydrates in each 12 ounce bottle — making it healthier than other flagship beers from the same brewery.

This beer pairs exceptionally well with chicken dishes, whether cooked on the grill or fried in hot oil — as it does not overpower its counterpart but provides a crisp finish to offset heavier ingredients like cheese and avocados used in burgers (among others) perfectly.

Its slightly balanced bitterness makes it complementary to rich sauces like ketchup or mustard; while still providing enough light sweetness that can help balance out the stronger flavors that may be found in salads dressing recipes without being too overwhelming.


Budweiser is an American classic and a go-to favorite for backyard BBQs. Its light maltiness, crisp finish and carbonation make it the perfect beer to pair with smoked aromatic meats such as barbecued chicken.

The subtle sweetness provides contrast to the smoky flavors of barbecue while still allowing the natural aromas of charbroiled chicken to come through perfectly. Budweiser’s balance between hoppy bite, malty sweetness, and carbonation are optimal for cutting through roasted flavor without overwhelming or competing with smokey marinated sauces.

An added bonus? It pairs just as well with side dishes like potatoes or coleslaw because of its light character that won’t overpower lighter fare often found at BBQ celebrations.

BBQ Beef And Beer:

For a classic pairing of robust flavors, try an expert-picked beer such as Paulaner Salvator Doppelbock or North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout to complement your next BBQ beef dish.

Paulaner Salvator Doppelbock

Paulaner Salvator Doppelbock is a rich and flavorful beer with notes of chocolate, malt, caramel, bread and hints of coffee. It has an ABV of 7.9% and a deep golden chestnut brown colour witha caramel hue on the head.

The sweet flavors make it the ideal pairing for BBQ as it adds its unique complementary tasting notes to the rich flavors found in beef dishes or pulled pork sandwiches. Its ample volume of wheat malt gives Paulaner Salvator Doppelbock a full-bodied flavor that pairs well with grilled ribs or hamburgers seasoned with BBQ sauce or mustard – making it the perfect beer for unlocking all that your barbecue can offer.

North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

is a rich and intense brew with big, complex flavors and warm aftertaste. This Imperial Stout comes from North Coast Brewing Company in Fort Bragg, CA and has an ABV of 10%.

This black beer contentiously grows popular due to its fruity aroma, full of diverse flavors ranging from sweet chocolate to mild caramel tones.

Its long bittersweet finish makes it stand out amongst imperial stouts; giving it depth and hoppy notes upon having the last sip.

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout pairs perfectly with BBQ beef dishes due to its heavy malt profile mixed beautifully with meat such as steak or ribs.

BBQ Burgers And Beer:

For burgers, Stone IPA and Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn Lager pair well with their slight hoppiness and nutty flavors.

Stone IPA

Stone IPA is an American-style craft beer that is a popular choice for BBQ burgers and other grilled dishes. It’s made with Amarillo, Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops to create a well balanced finish with some bitterness.

This is the perfect accompaniment to smokey flavoured foods like BBQ burgers, because it helps balance out those rich aromas while offering bright citrus notes & herbal hop flavour too.

Stone IPA works just as well with other smoky dishes such as pork ribs or lamb chops too – the slight sweetness of the beer will contrast perfectly against these savory flavours.

Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn Lager

The Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn Lager is a classic American lager with malt sweetness, a balance of hops and slight fruitiness. It has a copper color, with flavors of caramel and fresh-cut hay backed by a spicy hop character.

The brewery takes its name from where it opened in 1984, at the heart of New York City’s classic brewpubs. Today they are constantly challenging themselves in their pursuit for experimenting with new styles while not forgetting the tried and true classics – like their Brooklyn Lager!

For example, their brewing process emphasizes using traditional techniques such as open fermentation tanks–where yeast strains used interact directly with wild yeasts present rather than stored in large pipes or outdoor vats – which gives each beer an unique flavor profile otherwise not achieved through other techniques.

Additionally, when creating the Brooklyn Lager great lengths have gone into selecting ingredients – including imported German hand-selected varieties that lend depth & character to an already mouthwatering beer selection!

This well balanced drink pairs easily alongside so many proteins from burgers to pork—making this classic ale very versatile and dynamic for any occasion .

Understanding BBQ Beer

Discover the key elements of BBQ beer to create an unforgettable pairing.

What Is BBQ Beer And How Is It Different From Other Types Of Beer?

BBQ beer is specifically made to pair with barbecued dishes, such as smoked meats, fish and seafood. The characteristics that make a particular beer suitable for pairing with barbecue foods are different than those of other types of beers.

The beers that pair best with BBQ usually have malt-forward sweetness combined with hop bitterness structured around medium body and acidity levels to balance out richness from sweet sauces or smoky grilled tastes; this allows the full flavor profile of each dish to come through without either overpowering one another.

Popular examples include stouts like Guinness Draught Stout, IPA’s like Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA and lagers like Budweiser which bring out some caramelized umami characters while tempering overwhelming smokiness often associated with grilling meat.

Even wine drinkers don’t need to feel left out! A Belgain Witbier or Pilsner Urquell goes great when pairing shrimp or vegetarian options likely on the menu at any traditional back yard bash.

Ultimately it’s up to individual preference whether you want light one tangy enough for potato salad yet robust enough handle brisket– but whatever your choice may be keep in mind pairing Beer & Barbecue isn’t about mirroring exact ingredient combinations (i.e Caramel malt amplifying sweet molasses based bbq sauce), just finding harmony among complementary flavors that react differently on taste buds together creating new delicious dimensions

The History Of BBQ And Beer

Barbecue and beer have been intertwined since the earliest settlers of America. In the early colonial days, beer was widely consumed as both a dietary staple and to ward off diseases.

The traditional American BBQ is believed to have originated in South Carolina when indigenous tribes smoked their meats with sweet hickory smoke over long periods of time.

This practice eventually evolved into what we know today as “low-and-slow” barbecue cooking. Beer quickly became a popular accompaniment to this new style of cooking technique—the smoky flavors and sugars from the beers meshed well with seasoned meats on the grill or smoker.

Pairing BBQ And Beer

By understanding the basic flavors of both beer and BBQ, as well as their complimentary notes, you can find a unique pairing to suit any recipe or occasion.

Tips On Pairing Beer With Different BBQ Dishes

When it comes to beer and BBQ, there are some general rules of thumb you can follow. BBQ dishes tend to be high in fat, salt and smoke flavors, while beers bring sweetness, bitterness, light malt notes and balance. To achieve a flavor balance when pairing your beer with your BBQ dish, consider the smokiness of the dish as well as the type of meat being served.

For instance:

1. A beer with a higher ABV (alcohol by volume) can help cut through fatty proteins like brisket or pork belly. Opt for brown ales or dark lagers that have natural smokiness but also offer enough carbonation on their own due to their slightly sweeter flavor profile.

2. For lighter meats like chicken or fish, look for a crisp pilsner or wheat beer with subtle hints of hops that won’t overpower the delicate taste of seafood or poultry.

3. If you’re having something spicier like chipotle-rubbed ribs – pair them with an IPA to emphasize the hoppiness and let its bitterness play off against the heat from the seasonings used for grilling or smoking.

4. For richer salads such as coleslaw, try a sweet fruity hefeweizen or wheat ale to break through all those creamy textures without overpowering any flavor from dressing used to make it zesty .

5. Barbecue sauce can be very difficult to pair because most combinations will either be drowned out by its ingredient or overwhelm the other elements involved in construction of dish itself; Sours have developed over time to pair great with vinegary sauces and give them some sweetness needed for balance – but even then you should start with small amounts before increasing if needed— and enjoy more than one kind so that you get different types of flavors each time around..

Flavor Profiles To Look For In A BBQ Beer

There are certain flavor profiles to look for in a BBQ beer that will provide the perfect complement to any outdoor grilling session. The most common types of BBQ beers include smoky, sweet and hop-forward flavors.

Smoky: Smoky flavored beers with notes of roasted malt can be an excellent accompaniment to barbecued pork ribs or chicken wings. Beers such as Guinness Draught Stout, Founders Porter, or Newcastle Brown Ale feature a prominent smokiness complemented by deeper flavors of dark chocolate and caramelized sugars from the malts used in brewing them.

Sweet: Sweet beers like New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale are ideal when it comes to pairing with sweeter sauces for dishes such as barbecue pork or lamb burgers. A subtle sweetness is enhanced by the ever so slight bitter finish of the hops used in this beer making it an excellent pairing option for those who prefer their food on the sweeter side.

Hoppy: Hop-forward IPAs such as Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA or Sierra Nevada Pale Ale pair well with spicier sauces due to their bitterness and underlying floral notes, which can help cut through strong seasonings without overpowering them. For an even hoppier taste profile try out Stone IPA or Brooklyn Lager while grilling your favorite burger patties!

Making Your BBQ Beer

With a little effort and creativity, you can create the perfect BBQ beer that is sure to add an extra oomph to your summer cookout.

Tips And Tricks For Brewing Your Own BBQ Beer

1. Start by selecting the best beer that compliments the barbecue – the selection can vary based on the type of meat or vegetables you’re grilling. Lighter-tasting beers should be paired with lighter flavors, while darker and heavier beers complement heartier dishes.

2. Once you have chosen your beer, start experimenting with adding unique ingredients to create your own flavors and depth. Of course adapting different recipes for BBQ sauces and marinades is helpful as well – try pairing American IPAs with spicy dishes, stouts and coffee-flavored beers with pulled pork, and crisp lagers for grilled fish.

3. Another great way to get bold flavor is by cooking food in a beer broth – this can add an extra layer of flavor to virtually any kind of dish you choose to grill. It adds a mellow smokiness that will leave your guests asking “what’s that delicious smell?”

4. Marinating your meat of choice in your favorite beer overnight can help tenderize the meat and give it flavor. Make sure to stick to light ingredients when marinating—meat should be no more than 25% covered in liquid—and remember that different kinds of meat require different levels of marinating time so plan accordingly! Beer will also act as a catalyst for rubs; mixing beer with dry rubs before applying it to meat can add complex flavors such as sweet or smoked notes depending upon the type of beer chosen for use in the recipe.

5. Finally, once you’ve cooked up your feast, grab a few bottles (or cans) of ice cold beer that has been carefully paired with whatever you decided to throw on the grill! Enjoying dinner alongside an appropriate craft brew selection really elevates the experience – a classic Summer evening made perfect with some good friends and great food & drink is all we need these days!

Ingredients To Use For A Smoky-flavored Beer

Smoking ingredients, such as malt and hops, is the most popular way of creating smoke beers. Brewers typically obtain smoked malts that are ready for brewing – this can be in the form of oak chips, applewood clippings or hickory shavings which all contribute to a unique smoky flavor.

Other classic ingredients include peat-smoked barley malts or black patent malt which adds a subtle flavor when used sparingly. For certain styles of beer such as Scotch ales or milk stouts, brewers may need to use more smokiness in order to achieve their desired result.

In contrast, light lagers require only a minimal amount of smoke introduced into the brew process in order for it taste noticeable but not overpowering. No matter what style is being brewed, great care should be taken to avoid overheating any ingredient used during the smoking process so that it does not impart an acrid taste upon consumption.

FAQs on BBQ Beer Pairings

1. What beers go best with BBQ?

When pairing beer with BBQ, favor those that will compliment the smoky and savory flavors of the food, such as pilsners, blonde ales or brown ales for lighter meats or IPAs for heavier ones. Other great options include wheat beers, lagers and bocks to amplify your favorite barbecue dishes.

2. How can I enhance my BBQ flavor profile by pairing it with beer?

The right type of beer can accentuate the natural flavors of a dish while adding unexpected layers and depth to overall taste experience – especially when it comes to richer proteins like beef brisket or pork shoulder. A good rule is to pair strong bold flavor profiles with equally distinctive beverages – notably hoppy craft brews that bring out the best in barbecued meats.

3. Are there particular types of foods that might not pair well with certain beers?

Yes – some bold ingredients do not correspond well together when cooked so you should avoid using highly acidic (i.e., vinegar-based) sauces on brisket or ribs because these cut through nuances heightened hops create; instead try something more neutral oil-based rubs combined lightly spiced alcohol-free marinades/glazes are better suited for hearty entrees without overpowering other tastes in area served alongside them such as side salads etc.. It’s important understand how components mixed together affect each individual flavor before constructing entire meal at once!

4 .What tips could help me make an informed beer selection based on what I am cooking?

When selecting which beers to buy it’s helpful plot out your dinner beforehand – start finding out different basic styles within genre match up nicely against one another ahead time (lighters being paired sweeteners/acidic notes heavy dishes vice versa). With this knowledge state mind make sure research variety textures/flavors available brands partnering accordingly as well determine appropriate serving size(s) per customer just enough achieve desired effect any leftovers don’t become waste post consumption!


The combination of beer and BBQ makes for a fantastic culinary experience. Different beer styles, from porters and stouts to wheat beers and IPAs, can be expertly paired with the various smoked dishes on your barbecue menu to create an unforgettable meal.

The ingredients in different types of beer contribute to their unique flavors which can enhance the natural taste of your food, while also counteracting some more intense elements.

It is essential to understand how each type of beer differs as well as recognizing what kind of flavors it brings out in food, making experimentation part of the equation when looking for that perfect pairing.

Dan Smullen Beer is my life profile

Hi, I'm Dan, founder of BeerIsMyLife. I've been an avid homebrewer for over ten years, and beer is my true passion. I've traveled all over the world, visiting breweries, tasting beer, as well as making my own batches. I set up this blog to share that experience with you.